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One memory – one life

  • Date: 16 May, 2011 at 12:28AM,
  • 1 commentary
  • I would like to show how one memory in life might become the meaning of life. 


It was Christmas 1951 in Prague when my father was arrested and imprisoned. 

I was born two moths premature in February 1952. After spending three month in hospital in incubator with lung infection, my mother has taken me to her mother, my grandma in Ceske Budejovice. It was during this time police started to take my mother for questioning. After one year she was sentenced to five -year imprisonment in Minkovice, Czech Republic.

As an additional punishment the communists wanted me to be adopted into a proper communist family so that I would grow up with communistic education. After all, parents were an enemy of the state and were imprisoned. However my grandma wrote a letter to president Gottwald, asking for permission to be my guardian. She was a pensioner at that time, but went to work as a cleaning lady in a local hospital. And so I was living and growing up with my grandma.

My first memory of my mother is when my grandma took me to visit mother in prison Minkovice, I was about three years old.

I am sitting on my mother’s lap and I am combing and playing with her hair. She has both hands on the table, she is not touching me, she is not moving and she is very still and her face is without an expression. She is dressed in something brownish grey.

I was growing up doubting my mother’s love; this was confirmed by the emotional distance I felt between us.

Then one day in Zürich sitting in a tram number thirteen; another version of this emotion came into my consciousness. My mother was forbidden to touch me and her stillness was her way of protecting herself against any emotions penetrating the wall she had to build in order to survive under those inhuman dreadful conditions.

And today May 2011 it occurred to me that allowing me to sit on her lap was another punishment (organised by the guards) for all three of us, mother, grandma and myself. One can imagine what my mother had to endure when she was not allowed to show any emotions to a three-year-old daughter and grandma who had to watch. Those were very cruel and sadistic times. 

To this day I have not seen one photo of me as a baby and my mother together. Due to our separation, our mother/child attachment did not develop in the normal healthy way; this is perhaps one of the reasons for not having children. Today I have absolutely no doubt my mother loved me very much and I love her very much as well. And I feel sadness when I think of how much she suffered at the end of her life. It comes perhaps as no surprise my mother died of breast cancer at the age of fifty seven.

I would like to end with a thought called ‘Home’, which I have written during my psychotherapy journey during year 2001.


I see the sadness on people’s faces,

I feel the anger and frustration in their souls

For the truth that might have been

I grew up in a soil poisoned with lies

I trusted people wearing their double masks

How can I trust myself again?

Life and  possessions are only illusions, for the true value is inside us all

At present I study to become Jungian Analyst at the International School of Applied Psychology (ISAP) Zürich, Switzerland

Daniela Droescher-Pasek